Registration for the 2019 event is now closed. Check back April 1st, 2020.


The ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam event will provide a free screening-wellness eye exam to qualified Service and Working Animals including those providing the following services: guide, hearing assistance, drug detection, police/military, search and rescue, therapy, and those assisting people with disabilities other than blindness. Registration is open annually April 1-30th.

All animals must be formally trained Service, Working OR trained therapy animals that are currently working and have written proof of training (and/or active registration for therapy only). (Additionally, due to the IAADP's extensive membership requirements and screening, the ACVO will permit "current, active, Partner Members" of this organization to participate in the program.) Those currently enrolled in a formal Service or Working Animal training program may also qualify, but is based upon clinic availability. Qualification paperwork for the training and current working status of either the Service Animal or therapy animal MUST be provided to the clinic at the time of the exam, in additional to the registration number provided in the confirmation email generated by the online registration. Please note that clinics may have limited availability.

The complimentary eye exam provided through your veterinary ophthalmologist is of a screening nature and is not appropriate for animals with known eye issues.


Puppies may participate in the program if they meet some general parameters:

1) They must be at least 3 months old at the time of the exam.

2) They must already be a part of a recognized, national or regional non-profit Service or Working Animal training organization. (Therapy puppies in training are not permitted.)

3) This screening will not provide an OFA exam.

4) Examination of an entire litter is usually not be permitted, depending on the facility, due to limited appointment slots and the desire to 'spread the wealth' to numerous owners and groups.


If you have an animal that has been formally trained as a 'Assistance Animal', other than a canine, you may still plan to register. When you call to secure your appointment with a local participating ophthalmologist, you will need to make sure this species is able to participate in the event at that location (e.g. felines, equines [mounted patrol], etc.) Horses can be tricky because special facilities are needed to screen equines. We will provide a separate list for equine owners if you contact the office.

The definition of "qualified Service Animals" to be screened during this event applies only to this ACVO/StokesRX National Service Animal Eye Exam Event. ACVO is not a publicly funded organization and may define the qualification parameters for this event.


Step 1 - Check that a clinic is located in your area. If you don't see your location(s), you may consider neighboring states/major cities.
Learn which cities usually have participating ophthalmologists. Note: this may change slightly from year to year.

Step 2 - Register qualifying animals and puppies via the online registration form located at the bottom of this page.

Step 3 - Once registered, the owner/agent will be given a link to participating clinics page and receive an email confirmation linking to the same information.

Step 4 - Contact the participating clinic to schedule an appointment and provide the registration number to the clinic. The confirmation number will be provided in the instant confirmation window after you complete registration, in addition to an email confirmation.

Step 5 - Important!
Service and Working Animals - Owners/handlers must bring written proof of the animal's training paperwork (currently only formally trained Service or Working Animals are accepted, self-trained Service Animals have the option to become a member of IAADP to obtain the paperwork required) along with a copy of our program's confirmation email (showing registration) to the clinic for the appointment. If either documentation is missing, you may forfeit your examination time slot and/or may not be allowed to participate again in the future.

Therapy Animals - Owners/handlers must bring written proof of the current, registered certification paperwork (showing formal training and currently working) along with a copy of our program's confirmation email (showing pre-registration) to the clinic for the appointment. If either documentation is missing, you may forfeit your examination time slot and/or may not be allowed to participate again in the future.

Please note that you do not have an appointment set until you contact the doctor's office directly. More instructions for this process are included on the registration page, once available.


Appointment dates and times may vary based on the availability of exams offered by each office. The clinic offices may offer exams for set days, for select times during specific days, or during times of their choice throughout the month of May.

While scheduling the appointment, please identify yourself as participating in the 'ACVO/Stokes Service Animal program' and provide your registration number from your confirmation. Clinics will require that you also bring proof of the Service or Therapy Animal's formal training to the exam. (See Step 5 above).

Note: Clinics will at times establish additional parameters around scheduling exams. In order to 'spread the wealth' among the community they may limit the number of animals seen by one individual or program. This is not necessarily common practice but occasionally must occur when one client tries to schedule a large number of animals and limited slots remain available. Clinics may also have an assigned number of appointment slots for each type of participant.

Registration completion and confirmation does not guarantee an appointment at the clinic of your choice, nor does it infer qualification for the exam.


Once the animal is registered, call to set a specific appointment time. (Late arrivals may not be seen as all of our doctors are volunteering their time.)

The complimentary eye exam through your veterinary ophthalmologist is of a screening nature and is not appropriate for animals with known eye issues. It is expected that the majority of animals will be healthy and will not be in need of additional services. Should an eye problem be detected, your veterinary ophthalmologist can discuss the condition, but it may be necessary to schedule an additional appointment to address these issues.

Data collected on each animal will remain private and be utilized for internal research purposes only.

What to Expect During the Exam


During the examination, the ophthalmologist will examine the eyes to determine if there are any abnormalities. The aim is to identify problems early. Some abnormalities might need to be treated to prevent or delay progression. Other sight-threatening problems such as retinal disease, cataracts, or glaucoma can be identified. The exam requires no sedation, requires minimal restraint, is non-painful, non-stressful, and usually takes 10-25 minutes.

Usually two diagnostic instruments are used:
The slit-lamp Biomicroscope is used to examine the eyelids, conjunctiva, cornea and lens for any abnormalities such as extra lashes, corneal scars or other corneal opacities, eyelid or conjunctival growths, or cataracts.

The pupils may be dilated with Tropicamide to facilitate full examination of the lens, vitreous (gel behind the lens) and retina. The examination can be done without dilation, if elected, depending on the immediate working obligations of the animal and the resources available at each clinic. If dilated, the drops take an additional 15-20 minutes to dilate the pupils. The dilating agent wears off in approximately 2 hours, and usually does not impair the dog’s ability to work.


Other diagnostic modalities might also be used, depending on the initial examination with the slit-lamp:
Schirmer tear test strip to check tear production, fluorescein stain for identification of corneal ulcers and tonometry to check intraocular pressure. Exam procedures and timelines may vary from clinic to clinic.